Directed by Ross Katz
Starring Kevin Bacon
Heidi’s Illustrious Rating: 5/5
This made for HBO movie, feels more like a documentary than a film. It’s the true story of Lt. Col. Mark Stobl (Kevin Bacon). The Lt. Col. Strobl lives in a beautiful home, has a happy family and works behind a desk as a numbers cruncher.
It is 2004, the Iraq war is in full swing and casualty numbers are streaming in. Each night, Lt. Col. Strobl reads through the names of the casualties. Why? Is this some sort of punishment because he chose to stay behind while others fight? Regardless, every night he studies the lists, until one night he sees a familiar name, not of a soldier, but of a town. The town is in Colorado and was not only the hometown of the deceased soldier, but is also Lt. Col. Strobl’s hometown.
Lt. Col. Strobl puts in an unusual request. He wants to be the one to accompany the remains of the young soldier back to Colorado. It is military tradition for a deceased soldier’s body to be accompanied back to their home, but it is unusual for a soldier as decorated as Lt. Col. Strobl to do the job.
The soldier who has died is Marine PFC Chance Phelps, age 19. His hometown was listed as the town in Colorado, but he grew up in Wyoming. Lt. Col. Strobl’s request to accompany the body is approved and he begins the long journey from Dover to Wyoming. Lt. Col. Strobl kept a journal documenting his journey, and it is his account on which “Taking Chance” is based.
There’s no political agenda or rousing speeches. This movie is the portrait of a man, a tribute to a young soldier, and a moving portrayal of the quiet respect average civilians pay when no one is looking.
I highly recommend “Taking Chance.”